On Tuesday, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar denied red-tagging allegations against the agency.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III asked Andanar why PCOO has issues on red-tagging at the House of Representatives.
“The PCOO, as an institution, never red-tagged any individual of this republic,” Andanar told senators during the Senate deliberations on PCOO’s P1.59 billion proposed budget for 2021
“My definition of red-tagging, Mr. Chairman, is when you accuse an individual to be a member of the Communist Party, of the CPP-NPA; and number two, red-tagging in a sense that the PCOO is involved in it, means that the PCOO is using all of its officials, agency, or platforms to disseminate such red-tagging,” he added, answering Senator Richard Gordon’s query.
Gordon said the Andanar’s agency should have a healthy discourse with people who are perceived to be left- or right-leaning.
“Last year, we encouraged the members of the Makabayan to contact the use of the government facilities, the government media facilities. Media facilities are for everybody. It does not belong to just one person or just one interest group,” Andanar said.
PCOO denies red-tagging allegations
The budget of PCOO was deferred in the Congress after the Makabayan Bloc solons asked Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy to immediately resign after posting on social media that the opposition lawmakers are “high-ranking” members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“If Usec. Badoy will continue to use her position and taxpayers’ money to criminalize dissent. She might as well leave her post,” Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arline Brosas said in an earlier statement.
Badoy, who was also present at the hearing, said the Supreme Court already dismissed the allegations against her.
“I’d like to inform you that we were already actually brought to court by the NUJP, Gabriela, rural missionaries, and other… up to the Supreme Court the ruling was the threat is not real and it’s based on amorphous grounds,” she said.
“The ruling of the SC is that membership into an organization red-tagged is not an actionable threat, and it was dismissed for lack of evidence,” she added.